Honors for all

Tim Costello

The Weber State University Honors Department offers many unique classes with different perspectives on a multitude of subjects. However, there has been a stigma surrounding this department, because some students feel they are not adequate enough to be in honors classes. Because WSU is an open-enrollment university, the Honors Program is open and available to any student who attends Weber State.

“The reason a student would want to take an honors class is that we welcome creative thinking, thinking outside the box,” Dan Bedford, soon-to-be previous director of the Honors Program, said.

Photo credit: Honors Program

On March 1, Bedford sent an email to all honors students stating that after six years he will be stepping down.

The email from Bedford also let students know that the honors program as a whole would be undergoing some changes. Students who wish to better understand these changes can attend informational meetings beginning on March 23 at noon.

Despite the changes to the program, the nature of honors classes will continue to help nurture that out-of-the-box thinking with smaller class sizes, helping to promote interaction and engagement amongst students. The Honors Program attempts to supply these kinds of classes with innovative professors who are found in nearly every department at WSU.

Last semester, a class titled TV and Media History was offered, and students got to view history from the lens of television, as opposed to a more traditional historical lens. This class was taught by Tracey Smith, a history professor who is the official historian for the ABC television network.

A variety of similar classes are found on campus during any given semester. Flyers are posted for courses in an effort to spread the word about the Honors Program.

More often than not, these classes are only offered for one semester. If student demand is not met, these classes may only last for a single semester, but other classes, such as the anti-racism class, have been offered for several semesters.

A variety of factors contribute to the success of an honors course. One is the aforementioned student demand, meaning if not enough students sign up for the class, as with any other class, then the class is canceled.

Another contributing factor is faculty availability. As there is no designated honors department on campus, the university has to pull from other departments to teach these classes. These instructors may have other classes they are teaching within their own field of study.

The Honors Program found at WSU is unique in that respect as they are cross-disciplinary, meaning they are taught from different perspectives, aiming for more interesting classes.

The Honors Program’s hub is the Honors Center, which is located on the third floor of the Stewart Library. There, students can find a quiet place to study and also have questions answered about the Honors Program from the most reliable source — other students.

“They are the best resource for students to find out more about honors classes,” Megan Moulding, Honors Program coordinator and adviser, said. “Sure, I could talk to them and faculty could talk to them. But the word of mouth from other students will help them more than anything.”

Aside from word of mouth, there are also many student events to be found in the Honors Center. Activities such as movie nights and the Honors Sneak Peek, where students are able to preview the Honors classes being offered the next semester before they are made official. The Honors Sneak Peek for fall 2022 will be held on March 16 at noon in the Honors Center.

All students are invited to attend the event, as they are invited to attend all honors classes in the fall semester and future semesters on campus.

On March 2, three finalists presented their pitch to be elected as the new honors director. Jenny Kokai from the theatre department, Sheree Josephson from the communication department and Christy Call from the English department are the three finalists. No decision has been made as of March 13.